The Bishin Cutter wrote:
fighting muskie wrote:
I don't read too much into the Big Ten adding Johns Hopkins for one sport. They needed one more member to sponsor the sport and no one was ready or willing so they grabbed an academic peer with an excellent lacrosse program that happened to be on the east coast near the newbies. Hopkins is there to raise the profile of the league until some of the traditional schools can get rolling. Michigan for instance just started awarding scholarships. I'd expect the Big Ten to pressure some schools into adding lacrosse. Northwestern would fit the mold--private school, large affluent urban center--seems like a natural fit.
For the talk about how much money the Big Ten and its members earn, it troubles me when only Michigan can really spot the funds to sponsor a new program. When other programs say these things aren't viable, or they demand boosters to come up with the start-up and some of the early budget coverings, is Big Ten revenue overstated? Or are Big Ten schools really inefficient with their management?
Johns Hopkins, to some extent, could be anyone. The issue, to me, was the need for an affiliate at that moment and not having a program even close to being ready for an upgrade conversation. It showed a sense of panic and urgency on the part of the Big Ten to get lacrosse out there for its network, and had to essentially borrow a ringer to put it over. To need to centralize the lacrosse and ice hockey programs under the conference banner so urgently...why was it so important to form a lacrosse conference now without the minimum number of full members sponsoring the sport? A lack of faith a program would ever upgrade? A lack of faith in lacrosse moving the needle in media deal negotiations (a future bargaining chip)?
I mean, JHU has certainly made itself somewhat awkward to the group, publicly saying it did seek other conferences (you just know these guys wanted to be in the ACC), and still won't indulge the CIC invite. Adding a school who really couldn't care either way about this conference that takes itself way too seriously...it pokes holes in that inflated image the conference has of itself.
The money and the CIC...when all you can get from that are Rutgers, a Maryland you have to basically fully subsidize, and a slightly ungrateful Hopkins, who probably thinks the CIC is a joke...maybe the Big Ten isn't all what we project it being?
Maryland and Rutgers were media market adds for the network, not quite program adds (though the programs aren't terrible). They wanted to get the BTN onto the basic cable packages for NYC, DC, Baltimore, and the state of New Jersey, which means more revenue for the conference.
I'm pretty sure JHU was sought out because a member school dropped LAX, iirc, but I'm not too attuned with the conference's LAX situation (the conference's hockey situation is more relevant being in Minnesota).
And the issue about adding new sports is really more about following Title IX rules, because adding a program in men's sports typically means adding a women's program to meet Title IX, so the funding needs to be met to add both sports and facilities and coaches for both. At least, as far as I understand Title IX compliance, anyway. The Big Ten tends to leave management of that at a school level.
But this always goes back to money. The conference was already making good money. It needed these other programs to make even more of it, but even so, at what point is the money so good that it can actually support additional programs and their Title IX partners. What, they aren't there yet?
If you're a program who's collecting tens of millions of dollars, and to field even something like another sport and Title IX partner program, we're not talking tens of millions of dollars. I doubt we're even talking about high single million marks. Looking at what Temple University cut some months back, several programs only saved them $2-3 million. So...the Big Ten schools can't cough up that kind of change? I know they run big programs (more than Temple, obviously), but they make more, too.
What causes concern is that the truth to all this money grabbing is that there isn't much concern about spending as some let on. That there's a deeper issue where certain programs get the green light to spend like heck, even if the returns aren't much, if any. That the risk and cost of fielding football means other programs absolutely do perish and suffer, be you Big Ten and "swimming in money" or Temple and "hanging on for dear life."
About JHU...I don't know if Michigan State kept their program that the Big Ten would let JHU float out there. We don't know if UMD was involved in that to some degree, or whether JHU gives the Big Ten instant lacrosse credibility where, otherwise, it would be the UMD and Scrubs league. That JHU was necessary for the Big Ten to make any sort of money at the sport of lacrosse...and if so, what it's worth to them when selecting a club who doesn't really give a care about what so many other schools and their administrators jabber on about (associations, tradition, CIC, etc.).